Shift In India’s Attitude Over Nijjar’s Murder Allegation After U.S. Indictment, Says PM Trudeau

"There's an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada isn't going to make this problem go away," he said.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his belief that there has been a shift in India’s relations with Canada following the recent unsealing of a U.S. indictment alleging a conspiracy to murder a Sikh activist on American soil, according to CBC.

“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they can’t bluster their way through this and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” he told in an end-of-year interview with the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.

Previously, when PM Trudeau publicly linked India to the shooting death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C., on September 18, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government responded with scorn and flat denials. However, a recently unsealed U.S. indictment implicated Indian government agents as instigators and financiers of a murder plot in New York City, tied to Nijjar and a scheme to harm Canadians.

PM Trudeau revealed that he went public with the allegation after weeks of unsuccessful quiet diplomacy to “put a chill on India” and discourage potential further attacks on Canadian territory. Despite initial skepticism and denial from Indian officials, the tone shifted as other G7 countries, particularly the United States, supported Canada in the dispute.

“There’s an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada isn’t going to make this problem go away,” he said.

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The White House leaked information about U.S. President Joe Biden addressing the issue directly with Modi during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in New Delhi, a week before Trudeau made the explosive allegation in the House. Unknown to the public at the time, the U.S. was conducting its investigation into a plot to assassinate U.S.-Canadian dual citizen Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

The U.S. indictment, alleging that Indian officials offered $100,000 for the assassination of Pannun in New York, seems to have influenced the Modi government to adopt a more restrained tone, according to Trudeau.

He emphasized the importance of Canada standing up for people’s rights, safety, and the rule of law while expressing a desire to avoid unnecessary conflicts with India, focusing on a trade deal and advancing the Indo-Pacific strategy.

PM Trudeau said, “We don’t want to be in a situation of having a fight with India right now over this. We want to be working on that trade deal. We want to be advancing the Indo-Pacific strategy. But it is foundational for Canada to stand up for people’s rights, for people’s safety, and for the rule of law. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

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